Friends/Arboretum Reunion Update: Boards Vote to End Process

From the Boards of the Mount Pisgah Arboretum and Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah


Dear Members and Partners,


We are writing to share an important update regarding the potential merger between Mount Pisgah Arboretum and Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah.


After an extensive due diligence process and thorough deliberations, both boards of directors have voted to halt work on merging our organizations for the time being.


This decision is the result of a dedicated effort by staff and volunteers from both teams who worked tirelessly over the past 2 years to determine if this venture would be feasible. The decision was made with careful consideration for the long-term success and sustainability of both groups. The Boards of the Arboretum and the Friends studied how each organization operates to fulfill their mission and identified specific resources that the merged organization would need in order to thrive. Unfortunately, realizing this vision in the next few years would require significant resources, collaboration, and community engagement beyond what the organizations can achieve. 


The next steps would include raising at least $700,000 for staff salaries, legal fees, accounting fees, debt retirement, budget gaps in programs that are core to our missions, and other merger costs for the next two years. We do not have the capacity to redirect existing resources or secure new funds and hire additional staff to meet that need. Without those resources, the merger would require cuts to existing programs, activities, and staff positions of both organizations. The financial burden of a merger would therefore undermine our current strengths, talents and commitment to serve a growing community and an extraordinary natural landscape. 


Mount Pisgah Arboretum and Friends of Buford Park & Mt. Pisgah share common history and a desire to nurture and restore our connection to nature. Nonetheless, the organizations have specific differences in their goals, programs, and cultures that make them best suited to continue as partners, but separate entities for the time being. The Boards of the Arboretum and the Friends have resolved to stop work on reuniting the two entities into one organization at this time. Still, we have committed to continue and expand our partnership in other ways and to explore opportunities for reunification in the future. 


We extend our sincerest gratitude to our members, volunteers, donors, and partners for your support throughout this process. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Your dedication and commitment are the driving forces behind our organizations’ success, and we are truly grateful for your continued engagement. 


We also want to express our heartfelt appreciation to everyone who specifically contributed to the due diligence process. Our work has provided valuable insights that will benefit each organization as we move forward. We look forward to a bright future of collaboration and shared achievements as partners.*


*republished from Friends July 2023 E-Newsletter

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